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The Signal

Posted on 15 Jan 2023 @ 10:33pm by Captain Jillian O’Connell
Edited on on 21 Jan 2023 @ 8:10pm

629 words; about a 3 minute read

Mission: Dominion in Distress

More than a month had passed since Gamma Command held its mixer for its ranking officers to attend. And true to the Admiral's word, Jillian O'Connell once again found herself in the Captain's chair. This was not her first time in command, but it was the first time where it hadn't been a field commission. The Saber-class USS Krutigtee was all hers and her mission was to maintain Gamma Command's perimeter along with five other starships.

It was a strange feeling, being without her toddler son. Most parents in Starfleet rarely would serve on the same ship, forcing children to be shared across assignments, or one parent would have to put their career on hold while the other continued forward. The latter was exactly what happened to Jillian, pausing her career to take care of Scott while Zachary was thrust into multiple task group or force commands. His influence, however, was her salvation. The moment a chair opened up around Gamma Command, Jillian found herself reactivated and promoted.

Captain O’Connell she was now, and the Krutigtee was hers. The ship was on a 16-hour rotation in the system. 16 on, and 16 off. Her off hours were split across the starbase and the Saber, and so was time with Scott. Provision was made for a daycare aboard the Krutigtee, and Scott would either be near mom or near dad.

The situation was still not ideal, but it at least worked for them. For now. Zachary had mentioned about giving Starfleet a couple more years, and then standing down to raise Scott and prioritize Jillian’s career. While she trusted her husband, it would take time and trust to see if that promise would ring true.

Reality snapped her mind back to the bridge when a steady trio of beeps sounded from the tactical console. Jillian turned to face the Orion security chief, a junior grade lieutenant.

“Distress call, Captain,” the woman quickly said, then went silent. “It’s… Dominion.”

Jillian paused. She’d been in the Gamma Quadrant for four years, and she’d never once heard of a Dominion ship in distress. Before she could ask for details, they were soon provided.

“Bearing 0-4-5, mark 0-1-0. Coming in at maximum warp. Dominion battlecruiser. And… uh…”

“What is it?” Jillian asked, rising from her seat and moving to the tactical station to see for herself.

“I can’t tell,” she replied. “There’s a lot of interference. Irradiated plasma, and… wait. Yes. Plasma imbalance coming from one of their engines. Their warp bubble is destabilizing.”

“Helm, evasive maneuvers!” the Captain called out. Based on the signal’s position, the destabilization of the Jem’Hadar battlecruiser wouldn’t drop out of warp close to the Krutigtee, but if it didn’t have control of its engines and thrusters, then a collision could happen.

And Jillian would have been correct. The battlecruiser fell out of warp and instantly started to spin in the Starfleet ship’s direction. Debris from a damaged Jem’Hadar nacelle flew everywhere, as did vented plasma and other toxic leaks.

“Red alert!” Jillian shouted, looking at the tactical chief. “Hail the Dominion vessel.”

The Orion did not return Jillian’s gaze. “No response, Captain. Scans show that life support aboard the battlecruiser have failed. What signs there are are faint.”

“Bridge to Engineering!” Jillian called out. “I need all the power you can give me for a tractor beam.”

“Even if I gave you everything,” shouted back the Tellarite engineer over the comm system, “We can’t stop a ship six times our size. We’ll need help.”

Jillian frowned. Her first week on the job and this happens. There was only one solution, and that didn’t reside on her ship. “Get me Gamma Command.”


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